23 July 2006

SNP Call For Retention Of Juvenile Sex Offenders DNA

Following the revelations in today's Sunday Times that three children under the age of ten have been charged with sexual offences, SNP Deputy Justice Spokesperson Stewart Stevenson MSP renewed the call for the retention of DNA evidence from such children.

Mr Stevenson said:

"The figures published today are deeply disturbing. For the first time we have a figure which measures the Labour and Lib Dem government's failure to address such offending by young people. People across Scotland will be shocked that almost 3,000 children under 10 were charged by police in the last year.

"But the charges of rape and other sexual crimes were the most worrying. It is only 2 months since I warned Labour, Lib Dem and Tory MSPs of the dangers of very young sexual predators. But they voted down an amendment to the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill moved by me which would have retained DNA from children like these to enhance future protection from these dangerous youngsters.

"We must stop pretending that crime can be described as 'anti-social behaviour' and support children from our most disadvantaged areas to prevent them becoming serial offenders. But, most of all, we must protect our communities by appropriate measures in relation to youngsters who commit sex crimes."

Note to Editors:

Scottish Parliament debate at Stage 3 of the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill, 25th May 2006

Column 26097

Stewart Stevenson: ... ... ... a child can be a sexual predator just as an adult can. A child who is a sexual predator needs to be protected and needs to be looked after within the children's panel system. That is self-evident, but there are victims of children as well. ... ... ... the first time a juvenile sexual offender re offends undetected because the police did not have access to the DNA of that child from the previous offence, the political price for ... (The Executive) ... will be significant and terminal.

Stewart Stevenson
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